A new stretchy, supple synthetic skin prototype developed at Stanford has some impressive pressure sensitivity, deforming and contorting without any breakage or wrinkling. It’s made of spray-on carbon nanotubes, which act as springs and can measure the force being applied to them.
Someday soon, hospital patients won’t be hooked up to wires and monitors -- instead, electronic patches will be temporarily tattooed onto their bodies. Doctors will be able to monitor their vital signs without poking and prodding, and patients wearing neck patches will even be able to communicate with robots, who will translate throat muscle movements into simple speech.
A new generation of e-nose uses a DNA scaffolding and molecular fluorescence to distinguish among various vapors, in a breakthrough that could make electronic sniffers more powerful and simpler to produce, according to researchers at Stanford University.
The method could conceivably detect anything from spoiled milk to explosives, the researchers say -- a major advancement over existing e-noses, which search for only a couple of specific molecules.
Electronic sensors can make distinctions about the world far beyond what humans can do.
By Dennis Normile
Posted 05.29.2002 at 11:51 am 0 Comments
Takuya Nojima picks up a cocktail stirrer and sticks it into a small pot that's half full of water, with a thick layer of oil floating on top. The stirrer slices through the oil and water mixture effortlessly, just as you'd expect. But then he lifts a pencil-like plastic probe dangling from the end of a mechanical arm and pushes its tip into the pot. It slices through the oil but stops dead at the water, refusing to penetrate.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.